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Andrew Long - June 22 '02- 1:40 Eastern Daylight Time

Fortune has smiled upon me. The roofing stopped today, to be replaced by a miasma of good, old-fashioned smog. According to the Toronto Sun, this delicious soup-air is sufficiently sulfurous to rate as the fifth best cancerous cloud of stink in the continent, so I've been feeling pretty proud today as I cough up various lungs. Fortunately, some rain came along in the afternoon, so things got considerably better. Yep, good old weather. Nothing beats talking about weather. Except, probably, everything. Which is why I'm going to stop. And get on to the letters, of which there are plenty.

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Did someone mention hockey?

Hi tar fume guy,

I was wondering about your opinion on RPGs being based on movies or movies based on RPGs (I know FF:TSW was made, among others). But what about RPGs coming from movies, like Lord of the Rings (yeah it was a book first, but the movie did fairly well). I think some movies, with a few altercations to the plot and characters, would be great games...no I don't have any examples I just wanted to write in.

Do you think that poor sales with FF XI would wake square up into making quality games again?

And why can't I get past the first game in the Arc collection?! And why can't I start sentences with words besides *but* and *and*. Last question, aren't you glad the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley cup? (I'm from Detroit)

Keep up the good work with the column, ~Silversol

Andrew:
I think that when you base anything on something originating in another form of media, it loses something in the transition - such as movies based on books, for example. In my opinion, Charlie and the Chocolate factory the book is light years better than the movie. Same with any number of books. This is obviously a generality, though, so I'm sure a gem or two could slip through the cracks.

Poor sales might wake Square up, but poor sales probably won't happen. Yeah, they're flying lower than expected right now in Japan, but that's largely due to hardware issues and the fact the game just launched. Sadly, people continue to lap up everything Square puts out, so until they release something truly craptastic, I don't think you'll see any change in the status quo. It's kind of like the Toronto Maple Leafs, conveniently. They haven't won anything in 35 years, and for a couple decades, the owner was dedicated to a macabre economics experiment that was concentrated upon finding the absolute lowest point the team could sink to - while still selling out every game. Oddly, he died before he could figure it out, because people kept going to the games. So no, I'm not glad Detroit won... although I am glad Carolina didn't :)

As for Arc, well... I don't know. Maybe it just doesn't like you or something. And you can't start sentences with "but" and "and" because I said so.

I have to go cry now
I hope-not-but-just-maybe-eyebleedingfully-dammit-my-friend-warned-me-not-to-read-this-and-I-did-anyway FFX spoilers

Hey,

I wrote this in on the 20th of June and no one posted it >.< Anyhow, what it was was to wish me a happy birthday- could you please do that now, even if it is a lil late? Thank you! ^^ Ok, anyhow... I *finally* saw the ending of FFX *cheers* Yes, after a very long time, I finally saw all the closure and everything. As a result of the Yu Yevon fight, I constructed a small bit of humor most everyone I tell it to finds laugh-so-hard-you-fall-out-of-your-seat hilarious. So here's my lame, wonderful joke:

"Yo mama's so stupid, she died while fighting Yu Yevon!"

Ahhh...yes.... thank you, ladys and gentlemen ^^

-Xenochick (Lame humor Copyright 2002 Xenochick)

Andrew:
;_;. I haven't *finally* seen the ending of FFX yet. Now I'm jealous, especially cuz I'm probably going to have to wait awhile before I do get to. At least given how I'm addicted to Blitzball, which delays any real progress when a craving strikes. I really don't know what the attraction is, to be honest. I usually win by five or six goals, so there's no challenge or anything. Maybe I just like kicking ass. Yeah... that's it <.< >.> <.<

Oh, and I don't just wish people a happy birthday, I make sure it happens, so as we speak, there's a truck full of ninjas headed to your house to hold a dance party on your lawn. At least there would be, if I had access to trucks or ninjas in appropriate quantities. Since that isn't the case right now, I'm going to offer you a copyright sign instead: © . In fact, here's two to tide you over until next year: ©© . Happy Birthday!! :)

 
Whoa... even though her mail didn't get through, somebody remembered :)

Greetings (mice sing) Cast-o-mel

Now isn't the news just a continuation of the consolidation going on in the gaming industry? What do you think will happen with combining intellectual property and personell of different companies will make? Also I just have to wish Xenochick happy birthday.

Imperial Mog

Andrew:
Square taking over Quest is definitely an example of consolidation in the gaming industry, which probably makes sense, since Square's been involved in a lot of the consolidation you're talking about, at least in the RPG market. We've already seen what happens with the intellectual property and personel- companies that are in cahoots with other companies are generally more willing to relax their grip on intellectual property where their newfound friends are found, resulting in games such as Xenosaga. In that particular case, a lot of the people working on the game remained the same by virtue of happening to work for the new company that gained rights to the property of the old. Obviously, this is no guarantee that this will happen in future, but in the case of Xenosaga, it looks as though the creators will be able to carry their vision over to newer games by being able to work for them. In other instances, such as the Quest scenario, there's no guarantee of that; we could, and probably will, see some Square people at work on the Tactics Ogre series, for good or for ill. On the flipside, we could also see some Quest people at work on Square titles, given Square's new development structure. In the end, we'll probably have to wait a little while before anything becomes clear one way or the other. Still, I guess I should be prognosticating or something here, so let me look into my crystal ball. Hmm... Devil Rays in six... Bah. Stupid thing. That'll never happen. Oh, well. I tried :)

 
Later the same day

Hi, Castomel. What happened to Quest exactly? Im still not at all that understanding of Square buying them. The Ogre series was all they had it looks like but it was definately a solid series. I think it was the best series even over FF because it always remained fantasy oriented and never changed much unlike the changes from the old FF's to the new ones. The ogre battle games are rather difficult(this is why they are underated I feel) but they seem to hold an appeal to all RPG people and that includes my friends even though they claim the game is boring as hell. It has something special and Im not sure what that is exactly. Do you? Squaresoft buying them is also confusing considering FFTactics is very similar to Tactics ogre. I heard they were both developed by the same people. Is that true by any chance? Thanx for reading.

-Shogun

Andrew:
Well, as our fan-tastic news department reported in March, and then again this week, Square obtained the rights to the Tactics Ogre series, and then decided to absorb Quest too. It's kinda like in FFVI, where Locke steals a Plumed Hat from a merchant, and then it says "Stole his clothes, too!" The fit is tight, but the price is right; Square might not necessarily be suited to develop the sort of titles found in the TO series, but they sure do know how to do plumed hats right.

Which is to say, Quest now exists as a subsidiary branch of Square, and will presumably be left developing further titles in the TO series - under the direction of Square. How far Square's involvement will go remains to be seen; there hasn't really been much word on whether it intends to retain all the staff at Quest, or just a few people, or none at all. If the latter is the case, then certainly people's worries could end up being justified, since then the games would be TO in name only. As for the TO and FFT link- I'm not entirely certain, but I think the people who developed Ogre Battle were also responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics.

 
And now, for something completely different

How come whenever i send in letters they never ever get printed, yet you guys always say you don't get any?

-Stake

Andrew:
Well, I rather imagine if you preface them with "why don't you ever print my letters", or make that the entirety of what you say, it's not going to be particularly enticing for anyone to post. Still, I'm an ecunemical sort, so enjoy your day in the sun :)

 
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming

"Hardcore fans of tactical RPGs will probably be hard-pressed to name an easier title" Eternal Eyes, Saiyuki, Arc the Lad 1, etc. Haha, My NERD POWER grows larger by the minute.

-The Remarkable Walrus Man-

Andrew:
There you have it folks. That quote was me softening my stance because my original answer made me seem like a Square fanboy and a jerk to boot. Still, upon reconsideration, FFT is pretty easy, so I don't regret saying it. Nonetheless, having played a grand total of zero of the above mentioned games, I bow to your walrussy goodness, and wonder: if your nerd power is growing, does that mean your tusks are too? Because I could sure use a new piano, or at least one of those little statues that says "I Support Poachers". Not that I necessarily do, or anything, but that'd sure make for a great conversation piece.

 
And that was when they realized this column was going to be way too long for its own good

Hello, Castomel! Have a few questions for you:

1)Which Japanese RPGs that never crossed the Pacific do you wish would make it here? I can think of a lot, most notably Dragon Quest 5 and 6, but a lot of Square stuff too, like Romancing Saga, Seiken Densetsu 3, Treasure Hunter G, Rudora No Hihou, Bahamut Lagoon, Tales of Phantasia, and probably a bunch more that I can't think of off the top of my head.

Andrew:
Well, you've hit on a few of the ones I'd wanna see; Seiken Densetsu 3, for one, and Treasure Hunter G. I also wouldn't mind seeing Dragon Quest 6, but beyond that, a lot of the games that we didn't get for the PSX seem kind of superfluous. Maybe that's just because covering them tended to involve hammering through strings of text like "get of the promotion DVD of 2" can be carried out [!! ] at game shops all over the country the night which leaving cares about." More than that, though, I think that a lot of games that don't make it over fail to escape Japan because of their mediocrity. There's little money to be made in selling crappy games, especially if you have to translate them. Which still doesn't explain the erstwhile success of Deer Hunter.

2)Space Ghost, Brak, Moltar or Zorak?

Andrew:
Brak, although I've heard Space Ghost is pretty cool.

3)Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior?

Andrew:
Final Fantasy, because I'm still a rabid Square fanboy at heart, and because Enix is still stuck in the 80s when it comes to interface design.

4)This isn't really a question, but I can sympathize with the paving going on in your town. My town has changed drastically the last few years, they've been tearing down woods and building, um...buildings, putting additions on existing places...it's a travesty, I was so used to the way things were. Damn time, always passing when you least want it to.

Andrew:
Yeah. I still find it disconcerting when a Wal-Mart that wasn't there three months ago suddenly appears out of the blue, with a corresponding cookie-cutter subdivision to back it up. What's particularly great about this is the names of these developments, stuff like "Cedar Hills" or "Rolling Brook Deer Happy Meadow Butterfly Forest Lane". Yeah, there might be a few trees in your backyard now, but what do you think was standing where your house is six months ago?

5)Have you seen Salmon Of Doubt, the new Douglas Adams book yet?

Andrew:
I haven't, no. I do, however, hope that the fact it's new indicates he's discovered a means of writing from beyond the grave.

6)BARF!

Andrew:
Mmm.. That does go well with the chicken.

Well, that's all I can think of. Be well, and always remember your towel!

-Robust Stu

Andrew:
Like any self-respecting hitchhiker would be without one... how else am I supposed to snare birds whilst falling from a three-mile high marble statue?

 
More multipart action

Hey Andrew...or Cast, I can't decide which. Do you have a preference? Well, I have a few questions, so will you at least read them??

Andrew:
No preference... Hardly anyone ever calls me Andrew anyway (including my parents).

1. Can you play music cds on the PS2?

Andrew:
Well, you can play DVDs, so I don't see why you couldn't play CDs too. After all, Sony wants it to be the ultimate entertainment machine. One can only hope that a black marker won't somehow be able to defeat this scheme too.

2 Did SQUARE buy Quest just to play around with the OGRE series, or did they have something else in mind?

Andrew:
I don't know. Once I gain clairvoyance, I'll get back to you :)

3. Just curious, but are the 'greatest hits' manuals different from the orginial gaming manuals? (I was looking at some ads in the back of one)

Andrew:
I'm guessing they're probably streamlined a bit. Having never liked a game so much as to buy both the Greatest Hits and original versions, however, I really couldn't tell you.

4. I'm kind of getting tired of easily beaten games. You think theres any companies left who purposely make the games HARD??

Andrew:
Wherever there's a "Normal" and "Advanced" mode, you can be sure they were at least trying, at any rate. As for RPGs... Well, most companies are focusing on story and other aspects of gameplay, which rather sadly leaves difficulty on the outside looking in. This probably isn't the worst thing they could do; just think how long Legend of Dragoon would have been if it was challenging *shudder*

5. Whats your take on character death?

Andrew:
They actually die? Nooo! You're lying!

6. Is the furniture biz boring? Or do you enjoy laughing at mean old ladies?

Andrew:
Well, the sitting around in between old ladies is excruciating. The laughing part is pretty good, especially when they declare they're going to shop at (insert competitor's name here) and storm out. Like I care...

7. Would you buy a game soundtrack or another game if they were the exact same amount?

Andrew:
Depends entirely on the game and the soundtrack. Generally speaking, I've never been one to pick up soundtracks, so I'd probably opt for the game. Still, if it were a particularly good soundtrack, I might bite.

8. If you could choose one game to be re-released, what would it be?

Andrew:
If they did it properly? Final Fantasy VI. It's my all-time favorite, and it'd be kinda neat to see it redone to today's standards. That would probably take away some of its nostalgic value, but I think it's got enough strength by itself to be a really good game. At least, assuming Square does the right thing and puts some time into it.

9. My dogs going to have puppies ^_^

Andrew:
No foolin'? Aw, gee, can I have one? I'll feed him every day, and walk him, and I'll take real good care of him, mister!

10. Is Gamers Hell where you have all the best systems, new and old, every game worth having, and a memory card with unlimited space...but no controller/keyboard to play them with???

Andrew:
Yes, but only if someone over forty walks by every five minutes without fail and says "Gee, it sure is amazing what these things can do these days, eh?".

Well, thats all for now. Thanks for the time

-Sehv_en_embers

p.s. If you do decide by some chance to post this, will you PLEASE, PLEASE put it in the 'quickies' section? Hehe, Thanks!

Andrew:
I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave. 10-part quickies just aren't aesthetically pleasing.

 
Aing a Q, yo

Hey,

I've played some Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger and really liked them. I'd like to start on some different series, but I'd like to stay with the same "classic" console RPG type games. What do you suggest?

~Ladyhawk

Andrew:
Well, there's a few routes you could go. Lunar is about as old-school as you can get, and they keep remaking it every few months or so, so the hi-larious pop-culture references will even stay fresh. You could also go for Suikoden, which feels very old-school while managing to incorporate some very nice newer elements. Beyond that, Dragon Warrior VII is a nice blend of archaic and new, and then there's the dozen or so titles I'm forgetting that everyone's probably screaming as they read this. These games should tide you over a few months, though- but trying new games isn't all bad, really. You might even find you like the odd one or two.



Quickies

I have a serious problem In Dragon Warrior VII. In Loomin after I defeated the guy in the bath tub for some reason I didn't get the key. I went back to the room, went to the dresser and the key wasn't there. When I get lost I train so I trained a lot not knowing what happened so I'm very strong and don't want to start over. is there anything I can do?

Well, I could provide you with an answer, but I think I'll let you go on the journey of self-discovery that is consulting a walkthrough instead. That way, I won't have to :)

How come no one has updated in the last two weeks? Iím getting boredÖ and Nintendo canceled Space World so I donít even have that to look forward to.

It's a vast conspiracy. We teamed up with Nintendo to bore everyone to death, so that they'll have no choice but to buy crappy sports games once Smash Brothers gets boring. We get rather a nice chunk of the profits, actually.

Are you calling Google a catalyst? Peggy Sue Ellen was wearing shoes, too, hyuck.

Well, not intentionally, but now that I think about it, I bet slimes have all sorts of interesting stuff inside them. In fact, that one GP they leave sort of suggests they're instrumental to alchemy of some sort... Maybe I'll do some experimenting.

If you enjoyed Daggerfall, you'll probably like it; that's the reason I got Morrowind. As of now, there are some aggrevating/annoying problems such as random crashes, crippled follower AI and just strange things, but it beats the XBOX version in stability and customization ability. The XBOX doesn't come with The Elder Scrolls Construction Set (editor.) I also hope you have a XBOX net connection, because there'll be patches. And happy late birthday to me. (I was legal as of 6 21.) -EE

Thanks for the nose news, neighbour. Incidentally, you'dve been legal two years ago if you lived here. Yay Canada...

Just wondering if you know the answers to these questions: 1: How many switches are available in PS2's RPG maker? 2: See above, but use variables instead of switches. 3: Is it possible to build 100% custom 3-D models, or no? 4: When will it be released in North America? Thank you. Anthony Hood.

Well, I don't know the answers to these questions, so I'll leave them for others to determine and send in. Bombard Guifa with RPGMaker minutiae! But make sure you throw in some decent stuff too, or he'll be bitter at me and stuff...

"I have an idea for all the idiots who keep getting killed by Sin: build inland" -- Mark Jones You know, I bet someone out there did think of this but then was probably killed by Sin while they were moving inland. -Guru Clef-

"Why did I have the bowl then, Bart? Why did I have the bowl???"

This random and entirely meaningless answer to your letter is made possible by the hour 4:00 AM, and you having said all that needs to be said :)


The Last Laugh:

Well, now I understand Goog's occasional dread of hearing birds chirping, cuz I shoulda gone to bed a couple hours ago. Still, it was all worthwhile to print every letter I got, even if I did cop out on that RPGMaker one. On that note, Guifa, everyone's favorite tree...thing, will be in tomorrow, so send him all sorts of fun mail. Thanks for making this column possible, and I hope that someday, I'll be able to make a repeat appearance. For now, it's off to get not nearly enough sleep. G'night!

... Which will probably seem entirely out of place if you're reading this in the afternoon. Oh, well. I get some creative license here, so neener.



castomel "Don't send me mail... I'm not here tomorrow" @rpgamer.com

"Spielberg's not available sir." "What? Then get me his Mexican non-union equivalent!" "Ah, Senor Spielbergo!"

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